Six down, three to go.
Avengers #95 opens with an absolutely exquisite piece of full page art by Neal Adams. I mean it looks good enough to eat and I argue that it holds its own against any comic book art produced before or since. The only reason it maybe isn't an iconic image from comics is that...let's face it...Triton is not exactly a household character. Nevertheless, this does not stop Adams from turning out a tour de force work of art. The body is not exaggerated in the way that many characters were portrayed during the time period. Instead, Adams gives Triton (and the Avengers too, for that matter) the physiques of Olympic athletes. While still out of the norm, it grants the story a bit of reality. Anyway, on with the saga...
Triton has come to New York City to seek the aid of the Fantastic Four. But when the citizenry of the Big Apple react with violence and vitriol to his fishy appearance (again we see the prejudice and bigotry inherent in human nature), he settles for reaching the Avengers who are mopping up the Mandroids. Triton tells the Avengers that Black Bolt has been deposed as leader of the Inhumans and that Maximus is in charge. Maximus has forged an alliance with the Kree, giving more meaning to Super Skrull's attack on the Great Refuge.* (*Last ish! --Jonny) Triton begs for the Avengers' help, asking them to go to San Francisco...last known location of Black Bolt.
The Vision doesn't like this idea. After all, he wants to get into space and rescue the Scarlet Witch, the woman he's madly in love with. The reader is irked by yet another plot digression, but that's another matter altogether. Sadly, the Vision dares not tell his fellow Avengers of his motives so he goes along with the plot to find Black Bolt.
Black Bolt is indeed found in San Fran. He has made friends with a young boy named Joey. Both of them have somehow fallen afoul of organized crime and Joey has been taken hostage. That's okay. Captain America and Goliath make real short work out of the crooks and Triton fills in Black Bolt on what's happening with the Inhumans. As everyone files into the Quinjet, Joey bids goodbye to Black Bolt.
"See ya, pal. It was nice havin' a father again--even for a little while," the says.
Well after that, what do you expect them to do? I suppose someone might see it as a potential opportunity to bring a great writer into the world. After all, Joey might go on to feel a strong sense of alienation towards paternal figures and thereby all of society as Kafka did. Who knows what magnificent literary works might come from Joey's pathos? "One morning, Joey woke and found himself transformed in his bed to an Inhuman." But no. They pile Joey into the Quinjet and take him with them to the Great Refuge in the Himalayas.
Along the way, we learn through an exquisitely moody montage of reflection by Neal Adams that Black Bolt in fact killed his parents. He also drove his brother Maximus mad through the power of his thunderous voice while trying to disrupt the plot between Maximus and the Kree. Black Bolt broods, dwelling on times he'd much rather forget, wondering where everything went wrong. As mentioned in analysis of previous issues, this is unusual for comics of that era. Times were indeed tough and people were wondering where everything went wrong just as Black Bolt does. In fact, most of us ask ourselves that question as we fall clumsily into adulthood, slowly realizing that more years mean more worries and that most people are, at best, faking it to get by day-to-day.
That doesn't stop Black Bolt. Aided by the Avengers, Black Bolt attacks Maximus and the Kree contingent, reclaiming the throne and his people. The retreating Kree, however, have one last trick up their sleeves. They kidnap Rick Jones and take him with them as they flee into space.
Anybody else noticing this as a common trope for both Kree and Skrull? Or more accurately, has this become a writer's crutch and redundancy?
Regardless of the intent, the Avengers are as sick of it as we are. The issue ends with the Avengers assembled and Captain America vowing to take the fight into space and go after both the Kree and the Skrulls.
What exactly were we supposed to get out of the digression with Black Bolt and the Inhumans? Perhaps it was a filler issue used mainly as a set-up to get Rick Jones kidnapped and the Avengers to finally head into space after their captive teammates.
I'm hoping this saga picks up in the penultimate issue.
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